Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I've been playing with setting up a WIKI for us to use, and I couldn't resist trying this widget.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

LILAC Plans – Rough Ideas

Welcome to the LILAC Group! We now have a solid core to begin with. Below are some of my tentative plans. But this isn't my group; it belongs to all of us, so please post your feedback, critiques, ideas, or what-have-you, so we can move forward. I anticipate this project will grow and continue as a long-term one, with new people joining, some people "idling" when necessary or dropping out when need be, and with more work growing out of what we start here. There are plenty of opportunities: books, articles, dissertation and/or thesis projects, conference presentations, curriculum development, textbook materials, working with toolbar or software designers, grant writing, or whatever directions various participants take.

So, here are my initial ideas:

1. Sign on participants

Obviously, I have already begun to sign on a few participants, which is how you all got here. I've attached a .pdf of a flyer I developed as an Invitation to Participate. Feel free to use it—or design a better one (noone ever accused me of being artistic, you know!)—if you would like to spread the word. Right now, I am the only one with administrative rights to the blog, so just let me know if you would like to add someone as author and I'll take care of it (we can add up to 100 participants). Of course, anyone is welcome to post comments (they are reviewed, briefly, by me, just to try and avoid spam whenever possible). If someone else would like administrative rights to the blog, I'd be happy to do that as well.

Last week I visited a graduate class in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of South Florida, and in mid-April I will be meeting with some faculty in the English Department and the College of Education, as well as librarians, at Kennesaw State University. I hope to entice some of them to join us as well. Right now, travel is out of my own pocket, so while I am happy to visit local institutions, I can't afford too much travel. Luckily, we have this blog! (I love the digital age!)

As Co-coordinator of the Georgia Conference on Information Literacy, I also plan on asking the planning committee to provide meeting space and time for participants to get together at this year's conference (September 25-26, 2009, Savannah Georgia. See the Call for Proposals at http://ceps.georgiasouthern.edu/conted/infolitproposals.html ). Some of you already plan on attending; I hope more of you can join us. At any rate, I will also ask the planning committee to include the Invitation to Participate or a link to it on the Conference Web site and in the Conference program, so that others at the conference can come and hopefully join in.

2. Design study

  1. share info on IRB materials (that way, participants can use information from each other to help with their own institutional IRB forms).
  2. questionnaires/surveys (Survey monkey?)
  3. research-aloud protocols (CamStudio?)
  4. permission forms
  5. interviews w/students
  6. interviews w/faculty
  7. interviews w/librarians
  8. etc.

If you have ideas, drafts, or what-have-you, please feel free to share them!

3. Post plans for studies at our own institutions

I plan to begin with just one or two students in first-year composition classes at my institution (along with their teachers). I will

  1. Sit in with the class during any "library" instruction and/or
  2. Interview the teacher about what kinds of skills are being taught and what assignments students will be completing
  3. Administer questionnaires to students
  4. Observe student research practices and record student using "research aloud" protocols (I Plan to have students use a computer in my office with CamStudio running to capture What they actually do on screen while they talk about their choices).
  5. Review a copy of the students completed research project to see what they've actually used, how they've used it, etc.
  6. Interview student after they have completed their project
  7. Interview teacher about results (after grades are submitted post-semester)

At least, that's my plan…. Please feel free to critique or post your own plans as you develop them.

4. Review pilot study

I hope several of you will administer the pilot at your own institutions (or perhaps some of you have graduate students who will do this). Then we can review our results and see what refinements we need to make before we

5. Design/plan larger study

6. Report results

We can, of course, report as we proceed. For instance, Rebecca Moore Howard, Randall McClure, and Sandra Jamieson will be presenting at the Georgia Conference on Information Literacy (and, of course, others not yet involved will be presenting, too, so it's a good conference for those interested in this area! And Kathleen Blake Yancey is this year's keynote speaker, so it should be a great place to be).

Randall McClure, Rebecca Moore Howard, and I are also submitting a proposal for CCCC 2010 as well. I have already presented at the Georgia Conference on Information Literacy, CCCC, and Computers and Writing on the LILAC project, and I plan to continue to report on the project as it proceeds—hopefully with some of YOU.

I am also drafting an article for submission (somewhere). I plan to post my draft here to the blog for feedback. I think we could also propose an edited collection somewhere, with some of us serving as editors, and others contributing singly- or collaboratively-authored work.

Some of you have graduate students, too, who are already working in this area. I would love to hear if anyone is teaching or developing courses in teaching information literacy skills for graduate students in our field(s). At my institution, students take a sort of orientation course that supposedly includes "library instruction," then they take a two-course composition sequence, and many teachers repeat the same library instruction in these courses (and usually assign a "research paper" or "research project"). What I hope to do with this project is determine if this is working (my experience says it's not), so I hope to use the work and/or results of this study to determine what curricular/instructional changes we can or should make. So another "strand" here might be curriculum development at undergraduate and graduate levels, teacher training, librarianship, etc.

So, of course, I hope we reach across the "boundaries" of composition to include librarians, assessment experts, faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, K-12 teachers, and interested "others."

We can use the LILAC blog as a space for public conversation. We can also create a mailing list somewhere for more "private" conversation, and we can create public or private wiki-space to develop materials, or we can just email drafts between people who are working on various parts of this project together.

I'd love to hear what each of you is doing, what work you have already done, and what your plans are as we move forward.

Oh, yeah, and lest we forget, some (or all?) of us can either singly or as a group (or in small groups, or whatever) pursue various forms of grant opportunities. I know I would like funding for a research assistant, course release, printing costs (flyers, etc.), equipment costs, travel to conferences, possibly travel for LILAC participants to travel here to meet or, well, you get the idea. J

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Other Information Literacy Research

Project Information Literacy (PIL) (http://projectinfolit.org/)

This research project investigates how college students conduct research. The original pilot project was conducted at St. Mary's College in California; the research is now being conducted by the iSchool at the Univ. of Washington with support from Proquest using samples from different college campuses from across the US. The website includes publications and a "public service" YouTube video based on results.

Some of the more interesting results from this project (beyond where students find information), I think, are the findings that students struggle with understanding what college research is, what faculty expect, and that faculty (in their samples) offer little guidance to students about expectations.

Information Search Process (ISP) (http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm)

Although not specifically information literacy, Carol Kuhlthau has been doing research on student information seeking behavior for over 20 years, resulting in the development of the information search process model. The model is a holistic view of information seeking (or the research process) with affective (feelings), cognitive (thoughts), and physical (actions) attributes for each stage. Kuhlthau's research is described in her book Seeking Meaning and applied in her text Guided Inquiry. Although the initial research was focused on middle and high school students, her studies were replicated with college students and information-intensive professions.

The last stage in the ISP is presentation, which is often (traditionally) where the writing process is identified so that information seeking and writing/communication are separated. But I think James Elmborg was right in his call for the research and writing processes to be taught holistically. Kuhlthau's emphasis on seeking meaning rather than simply finding information seems to support that and gives us a way to see how the 2 processes are intertwined and perhaps are really one more holistic process.

Kuhlthau's research, I think, represent the only studies that have attempted to understand the feelings and thoughts associated with each stage of the process so that we hopefully can identify strategies to help students along. Combined with the PIL findings about students confusion about what college research is and what faculty expectations are for research, there seems to be a lot for us to still understand and work on to improve IL pedagogy.